BMW is the latest automaker to confirm an entry for the new LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) class that starting in 2023 will serve as the top category for both the World Endurance Championship and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
It means we could potentially see BMW racing at the top level in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the main event on the WEC calendar, for the first time since 1999, back when BMW with its V12 LMR sports prototype (shown main) secured its first and only overall victory in the French classic.
News of BMW's LMDh entry was first reported on Thursday by BMW Blog. It was later confirmed by BMW M boss Markus Flasch via an Instagram post.
A BMW spokesman told Motor Authority that plans are still being finalized and more details will be announced at a later date.
LMDh was announced by IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) and ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest), which sanctions the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in early 2020, and in the WEC the class will run alongside the LMH (Le Mans Hypercar) class which saw its first race on May 1. By the time 2023 rolls around, LMH will have Alpine, Ferrari, Peugeot, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Toyota all competing. LMDh meanwhile has attracted Acura, Audi, Porsche and now BMW.
LMDh has been developed with a view of keeping a lid on costs, so teams need to use a spec chassis similar to a current LMP2 chassis, sourced from one of four suppliers (Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic, and Oreca), and a hybrid powertrain of their own choosing. The cars will tip the scales at around 2,200 pounds and output around 680 hp. Balance of Performance rules will be used to keep LMDh and LMH cars competitive.
The first race for the LMDh class will be the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona, the opening race of the 2023 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.